121. Nicole Race | Elevate

121. Nicole Race | Elevate

On today’s episode Jason Ackerman chats with Nicole Race, you might recognize Nicole from her viral post on Gym Lunch, which she is no longer part of.  Along with Nicole disaffiliate from Crossfit in 2017 moved to calling her and her husbands mirco – gym Elevate. Nicole example in this episode how she feels disaffiliating has allowed her to sever her community and members better, by stepping way form those high skill movements like the snatch and cleans along with high skill gymnastic movement like muscles up. Nicole felt that they weren’t serving the CrossFit community and would send to other boxes, as they were no longer in aline with Crossfit.  This a good episode on how it important to do things for the right reason, and how that’s what matters. 

Time Stamp 

(1:11) No longer with Gym Launch
(5:17) The problems with Gym Launch
(9:28) Removing Complex Movements
(17:36) Disaffiliate from Crossfit
(32:02) Owning a Gym

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Jason Ackerman:
All right, Nicole. I was just telling you that and maybe some of the listeners will recognize you because you were you were basically viral on social media or the Jim Lunch Company.

Nicole Race:
Yes.

Jason Ackerman:
How did that happen?

Nicole Race:
So we'll be joined. I'm no longer a part of the gym lunch program, but we join gym lunch, as many other gym owners do in an attempt to grow our business. And so I had seen gym launches, ads forever and ever over and over again. And then I end up just clicking through, eventually saw a testimonial of one of my friends that I really trust and admire.

Nicole Race:
So I jumped on the phone with him and I was like, you got to do this program. Jump in. So we ended up going full force into the program. We executed really well. We did really well. The program, we were very successful. We learned a ton and it really helped our business in a very positive way.

Nicole Race:
So I you know, we had a great testimonial because we're very successful. And so my face was just kind of splattered everywhere.

Jason Ackerman:
You know, it choice a good looking female that helps. Right? Fit? like they know what, Alex knows what he's doing. And so, you know, you and I, we may have crossed paths, but we don't know a whole lot about each other. So a lot of the question's going to ask. I just don't know. You you say was successful. Why are you no longer involved in gym lunch?

Nicole Race:
Well, we were with gym launch for about 18 months, and I felt like we had absorbed and applied as much as we possibly could from the program. And I felt like at a certain point, much like with other things in your life, it's just time to move on to the next thing you know, it was like, all right, apply that learned a lot. You know, we took from it what we what we wanted to at that point, we knew we wanted to move on to something different. Acquire new skills, focus on something else. And so for us, it was just time to do the next thing. And, you know, with any type of mentoring program like that, I feel like with something as large as gym launch, it's only it's only so personalized. Right. It has to be scalable to a very large amount of people. So the things that we were looking to do at that point of, you know, considering leaving was very unique. And could it be applied to all businesses and all gym owners that were in the program? And so, you know, when you have so many clients, so many people to service, you have to think about scalability. And so the stuff that we really wanted to focus on just wasn't really applicable to the entire group. And I know that I either needed to just learn it on my own or find some other mentor or someone who really specialized in just a different skill set. So, yeah, we left. I mean, I I learned so much from gym launch. I'm so grateful to Alex and Layla and I've made so many great connections, like just how we make great connections in the Crossfit, world. I mean, a lot of great connections within the gym launch world. It was awesome. But, you know, just like anything else, it just kind of time to move on.

Jason Ackerman:
So. All right, so you have a good experience with them. I've you know, I've had other people on it.I recently had Noah Lamport. I don't know if you know him? And, you know, a lot of people have great things to say about them. For the record, you keep saying, ask your referring to your husband. You own the box together.

Nicole Race:
Yes.

Jason Ackerman:
Which could be a whole episode on box ownership. But do you think maybe in multiple we're going to dive into this? Maybe you have commitment issues. Jim launched now Crossfit,. Totally. No. You disaffiliated from Crossfit, was there and I want to, but we'll talk more about that. But was it kind of at the same time? Did you take the whole gym in a different direction? Is that why you left Jim launch in Crossfit, around the same period of time?

Nicole Race:
Well, we actually said it's going to opposite. So we dropped our affiliate. And then shortly after join gym launch. OK. Yeah. So we we open our doors in 2013 and we were a Crossfit, affiliate within a couple months of establishing our gym because we felt at the time like that was just the most comprehensive program that included strength and conditioning and a foundation of nutrition. And I just like all the elements of it. And so for us, you know, we felt like at that time for like the group fitness setting, that was the best thing that was out there. I loved it. I you know, I just felt like it was just a total package. So we end up becoming a Crossfit, affiliate. We had it and ran it successfully for quite a while. And then it wasn't until two thousand. 17, I believe that we dropped it.

Nicole Race:
So our affiliate was up in November and we decided not to renew and then and I think actually was that month we actually end up joining gym launch.

Jason Ackerman:
I'm going to go back and ask about the D affiliation process, not the process so much as but why. What was the biggest challenge, though, with gym Launch? So from my perspective and I've worked with a handful of boxes and I've used Jim launch and they just get so busy that the coaching can't keep up with the influx of members. Yes. Did you find that to be the number one challenge or did you find other? Are there faults with it?

Nicole Race:
You know, there's a lot of lot of challenges with running kind of like low barrier, high volume challenges like that. Right. You have this massive influx, if you allow it, of new people coming into your ecosystem. So it could very easily disrupt, you know, your older committed members experience. Right. So you have that whole kind of insertion of a bunch of new people who aren't really brought in yet you don't really get it. Who aren't committed necessarily for the long term. So, you know, as far as class quality and experience like that could take a dive very, very easily. I felt like we always did a great job at making sure that a quality like remained pretty high as far as making sure one stayed safe, had enough eyes on them, that we were able to accommodate plenty of veteran members and making sure that everyone still had enough attention. But at the same time, we weren't we weren't doing classic Crossfit, programming, you know, so we removed a lot of the high skill barbell movements from Group Fitness. You didn't do any type of barbell snatching. We didn't do any barbell cleans. So removing those high level skills is easier from a new person coming in, lowering that barrier, lowering the skill so they can get to work a lot faster. We don't have to worry about so many modifications and mobility limitations and stuff like that.

Nicole Race:
But I could see like if you were a classic Crossfit, program and had a lot of high level gymnastics, high level barbell stuff, it could be really, really difficult. So luckily for us, we started removing all those elements months before. So that didn't really change. Our programming was very I would consider beginner friendly. But anytime you introduce a large amount of people to your program, like it could get really dicey. And so you have to really control that dial. So I think a lot of people really ruin their businesses by doing this where they think that getting new people in door is going to solve their problems when it's really their service that sucks in the first place. You know, they they have a shitty program. You know, they don't have a good business. They're thinking, oh, just not enough people know about us. It's like we'll know people are coming and they're leaving. Why is that so?

Jason Ackerman:
Right.

Nicole Race:
That Gym launch could have done a better job of doing some sort of, you know, incubation process kind of on ramping proccess of like, hey, let's fix the internal stuff first before we throw all of these new bodies into your program. And they don't do that.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah, I I agree. A lot of people think they need Gym launch rights when in reality they have plenty of people coming to their box and they're just not keeping them right or getting them to sign up.

Nicole Race:
Yeah.

Jason Ackerman:
You know, and I know Jim launch. I've never worked with them, but I know that they're all about, you know, increasing their bottom dollar because you can't run a successful business if you don't have any money coming in. But certainly some in some gyms just need to assess. Do I really need more members or do I need a better product?

Nicole Race:
Yeah, exactly. And most people most honestly need both. You know, most Gym and small businesses need cash. They need capital. They need more customers. But, you know, if you grow too quickly, if you don't have the staff and the you know, the business to support it and fulfill, like you're going to screw yourself over and you're going to get in big trouble. And that happens to a lot of the businesses that go into it. Not a lot, but it it can happen very easily with a system like Gym launch because the lead generation does work as well as it does. It can be a problem.

Jason Ackerman:
But it's hard at the same time. Did not want that money. I mean, as a as a business owner, you're like two hundred new members. Of course I want that. Now I'm realizing, yeah, long term it could affect your business years down the road. So what was the rationale behind removing complex movements?

Well, I am a huge weight lifting year. And so as my husband. So like we love Olympic weightlifting. I love the snatch, clean and jerk. I just think like there it just there's so much respect that. Given to those movements, the demands for mastering those things can take, you know, thousands of repetition, right. And.

Jason Ackerman:
Ya you'll never master the snatch.

Nicole Race:
Yeah, right. So, you know, I love those movements and they're super fun if you can do them correctly and safely. Right. So, you know, it's just always our struggle, even when we did used to program them in the group setting and Crossfit,, you know, it's just it always made me feel bad. The people who, you know, they wanted to do it, but I know they shouldn't write because they just don't have the mobility for it. They haven't developed the skill for it. They haven't developed just basic movement patterns. And so it's like dangling candy in front of a kid. It's like, well, that guy next to me is doing it. I want to do it. But, you know, it's like as the coach and the professional, I know better than to let that person do that movement. So, you know, for us, we wanted to really maximize the hour that we had with people and we wanted to give them not only the best experience as far as being positive and having fun, but at being the most effective as far as getting stronger, getting better condition and improving body composition.

Nicole Race:
And I found and this is how I feel with something like a high level movement, like, you know, a snatch in particular, I could waste 20 minutes just trying to teach them a couple basic positions, whereas they're not necessarily getting a great workout. They're not getting any stronger from that. You know, it's just skill acquisition is beneficial if you need it, maybe as an athlete or some like that. But for most people walking in our doors, they weren't like, man, I really want to learn how to snatch. Like I need to lose weight. I need to get stronger.

Jason Ackerman:
They probably don't even know what it is, to be honest.

Nicole Race:
Yeah, right. So, you know, after a while, I'm like, you know what? Susie, who's 47, doesn't want to learn how to snap. She doesn't give a shit. You know, I'm forcing this on her. She feels awkward. You know, it's like but it's program. So. So for us, we felt like there was just more risk versus benefit. You know, to the general population and the amount of time and repetition it truly takes to be able to load that movement for it to be worth a damn for anybody. It just took too long. In our opinion. So we just took it out and it just made programming a lot simpler. I was able to, you know, load other movements that are much easier for people to get them stronger, a lot faster without the hard learning curve of Olympic weightlifting.

Jason Ackerman:
So currently you run because you're not an affiliate. I won't call it Crossfit, be run functional movement type workouts similar to what Crossfit, does. Just without Olympic lifts. But you might see a thruster, a burpee, a pull up.

Nicole Race:
Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And then we have a barbell club too. So if you want to do Snatch and the clean jerk, you can be a part time weight lifter. You can be a full time weight lifter. So we still have that available for people, but you're going to devote the appropriate amount of time attention to those movements instead of doing it in a class setting where we have maybe 12 minutes to get through the whole piece.

Jason Ackerman:
So you'll never see it in a conditioning workout.

Nicole Race:
Correct.

Jason Ackerman:
You know, that's an interesting topic. I know. And I'm anxious to hear what other people think, because as you say, and I'm like, there's some truth to that ride like you do. Do some people ever need to clean and snatch? Because I was having this conversation with my wife last night. Yeah. The box that I go to North Naples, Crossfit, runs for the most part, one workout a day. They follow up and NCfit, which is programming by Koliba. Yeah, and it's for the most part one work out of D'Anna Mike. There's some people in there that are just your average run of the mill, people that come in and then they're fit like those muscle ups yesterday people are doing, you know, so they're making this progress. But I wonder. For the other people that don't quite get there. Because you're right. You know, the later in life you do this, probably the harder it's going to be free to learn those movements. Sir. What is the benefit? We obviously knowing Crossfit, we can say the benefit is in the 10 domains is balance, accuracy, agility, coordination. But can you make up for those by simply programming easier movements and always easier, easier in quotes, if you will? Lower skill, I should say so I interesting topic. Very interesting topic there. And you know, to do things I always say is a very biased towards Crossfit,. So we're going to talk about your affiliation. But at the same time, one thing I love about Crossfit, is there's a lot of grey. There's no right or wrong. Right. So there's nothing wrong with, you know, if it's an affiliate decides to do that, do that. That's that's your you're allowed to do that under the Crossfit, model. And you know, and you still have it in there. So I think the challenge would be if I'm an outsider, I walk in. I see you have not seen your husband, but I assume you know, he's a fit dude. And that's like I want to look like that. That dude snatching. Why am I not Sachin?

Nicole Race:
Yeah, exactly.

Jason Ackerman:
That. That would be kind of where you have to explain it. Right,.

Nicole Race:
Sure. You know, for us, you know, if someone does walk in and they see someone snatching, they're in the weightlifting area of our gym where those are where the Olympic weightlifters train. If you want to do those things, we have a beginner program for you to follow and such. But yeah, I think, like you said, there's a lot of gray area as far as your interpretation of Crossfit,. There's no right or wrong. There's no black and white when it comes to movement, whether it's beneficial for you or not. Well, you meet the criteria to do the movement safely or do you not? You know, so it's like you can say that about anything.

Jason Ackerman:
Yeah, I think anyone listening to this. You know, you're in there. It's like they're gonna hate on you. And yet we don't have those type of listeners. But they might be mentally, you know, bashing you. Like, how can this lady take this out? And it's like, you know, I think I think at the end of the day, if you're doing things for the right reasons and you believe that that's helping the greater population become healthier, you're you're doing the right thing.

Nicole Race:
Yeah, well, it's funny. So one thing that we end up doing because we're constantly serving our members. Right. It's it's really important to us that we get feedback from them, because at the end of day, it's not about me. It's not about what I love to do for my workouts or my training. It's about our members and are we servicing our clients? You know, based on their their wants and their needs. So something that we actually end up learning from a lot of people as we were taking attendance and looking at this is back when we had barbell snatches in our program and we realized like man, attendance is so low on barbell snatch days. And so we started to ask about it. And people were telling us eventually after we, you know, peeled the onion back, like it made them very nervous. They wanted to avoid it. It was very frustrating for them. They were intimidated by the movement. They'd rather just skip that day, whereas some people love it, you know. And so it was like, well, if quite a few people are very intentionally skipping out on those movements, like, what are we doing?

Jason Ackerman:
You know, even as I think more about it, there's definitely I think, you know, it's it's I don't want to. Put it the wrong way, but it tends to be woman, men come from more of an athletic background. Maybe they've done it before, but you get you know, we have a large demographic of women in their 30s and 40s. And you're right, they struggle with that movement. And at some point it's like, would they be better off simply back squatting?

Nicole Race:
Yeah. Right. Yeah. Or do the kettlebell swing or, you know, something simple. That's it's dynamic. But it's you know, it's just less complicated.

Jason Ackerman:
So. So talk to me about the discussion I assume was a discussion between you two about disaffiliate.

Nicole Race:
Yeah. So, you know, for me, I was always the person and I still am that does most the marketing and sales and the, you know, the outreach, trying to get more members. I do not right now, but I did, you know, all the intros. So I was the person who was trying to get more people into our doors. That was my role. That was my job. And, you know, just over the years of different types of marketing, whether I was going business-to-business, you know, introducing myself to other local businesses, trying to start relationships, explaining who we were to, you know, just setting up that like, let's say, local health fairs at big corporations. The Crossfit, word was just always such a hard thing to get over, you know, no matter how well I explained it and how I tried to, you know, several of their fears and dispelled the myths. It was just always the bad word that came up in the conversation and. After a while, I found myself almost trying to hide it. You know, trying to like kind of skirt around like, well, I mean, we are Crossfit,, but, you know, you know, like just kind of like trying to rationalize. And that felt really bad to me after a while, you know, and and after Wild's like, you know what? What if I just remove that word from our language and I could just get straight to, hey, how can I help you? You know, instead of me trying to defend ourselves as to what Crossfit, is, what it is, and, you know, you have the wrong idea.

Nicole Race:
We're different. Can I just skip that whole part of the conversation and just, you know, ask the guy in front of me, hey, what are you looking to achieve and how can I help you get there? I'm so we first changed our name, so we first opened our gym. We were St. Pete Strength and Conditioning because our original kind of dream and goal was to work with athletes. And so after a couple months of doing that and then kind of working with local athletic teams, but they were also bringing in some of their friends and family members to work out with them because they just really enjoyed it. It was then when we realized, like all of the general population is who needs us most and was most with willing to work with. Right. So then that's when we decided to get our Crossfit, affiliate short shortly thereafter opening. So our Crossfit, affiliate was S.P. SC Crossfit, was just the acronym for our gym name. And then eventually we had you know, we had sabermetric conditioning PSC Crossfit, was the name of our Crossfit, affiliate.

Nicole Race:
But then we also end up eventually starting a program that was like an unloaded kind of program. We called it Sweat, so it had no barbells and it kind of dumbbell. I guess you can consider it like more of a boot camp type class. And then we had our weightlifting club, so it's like we had all these different names and program names and just very confusing. So we decided to rebrand and change your name and we wanted one name that represented all program. So we landed on elevates. And so we made that switch. We rebranded. It was super fun and exciting. We still catch our Crossfit, affiliate, but it was just easier for us to just market as elevate instead of having to use as TFC Crossfit, on everything. And so once we we really pushed the marketing with Elevate, we realized like me and it's kind of nice not having to say the Crossfit, name at all like it was. It made the conversation a lot easier for people. And so that's when the wheels started turning like, do we have to renew our affiliate? Do we really feel like we are in line with the brand? Do we feel like our offerings are, you know, in line with what the typical Crossfitters is looking for? And we realized over time that people that were specifically coming in for Crossfit,, we weren't really able to offer what it is they were looking for because we had removed Olympic weightlifting from our programming.

Nicole Race:
We had really scaled back and almost eliminated a lot of like the complicated gymnastics movements. So I felt it was kind of a disservice to Crossfitters looking for like very specific Crossfit, programming. You know, triplets, couplets of like, you know, gymnastics and barbell. We just didn't offer that anymore. So I'm like, well, what are we doing? You know, like if if the Crossfit, are looking specifically for a traditional Crossfit, program is coming in and saying this isn't really, you know, what I'm looking for. And to be honest, we weren't really looking for that type of person anyways. We just decided that, like, well, I guess we're just not a Crossfit, gym anymore. We don't really encompass everything that Crossfit, stands for. And so we decided to just to part ways and we just didn't have to have that. Crossfit, isn't bad for you. Crossfit, isn't gonna kill you. Crossfit, isn't gonna hurt you. Conversation with her prospects anymore. And I feel it became easier.

Jason Ackerman:
Ok. Now, with all of that being said, and I think that's a fair statement, everything you're saying and I like that you said, you know, you're doing someone a disservice. They see Crossfit, and hear about Crossfit, moved to the area. Yeah. They're expecting one thing and you're not really giving them that.

Nicole Race:
Yeah, I was sending them elsewhere. You know, I was like, hey, well, I know what you're looking for. And I I'm going to be honest. I'm not going to programming muscle ups in the program. But I know that's your jam. That's what you want. So go here.

Jason Ackerman:
So are you personally doing Crossfit,?

Nicole Race:
No.

Jason Ackerman:
So you've you primarily are a weightlifter?

Nicole Race:
Yeah, I do weightlifting. Couple days per week. And then I jump in the class and just, do, you know, regular strength and conditioning. I mean, I guess, you know, that's the kind of the grey area of.

Jason Ackerman:
That's, That's kind of what it was leading me to.

Nicole Race:
What is Crossfit,? I don't know.

Jason Ackerman:
Right. And I mean, obviously, Crossfit, is not going to go around every gym in the world and be like, you're squatting, you're doing Crossfit,.

Nicole Race:
Yeah, they don't they don't own any of those movements, so. Right.

Jason Ackerman:
So what do you do to protect yourself? Per save? From. From Crossfit,, right, Crossfit,. I think when someone hears Crossfit,, they basically think, hey, we're combining functional movements together, adding a clock component to it, and that's Crossfit, that so many gyms are doing right. You got the iron tribes of the world and the other sweat type classes like, wait, what you've done? Are doing that.

Nicole Race:
I mean, it's everywhere.

Jason Ackerman:
Absolutely. So. Other than taking out the movements, what are some of the big differences? Are you still running complex and triplets or is it more 30 minutes of cardio type sessions?

Nicole Race:
Sometimes it varies. To be honest, we're actually in the process of rolling out some different programs and different classes because we want to continue to really differentiate ourselves from any other Crossfit, or any other gym really in town. So right now, the way our class is structured, it's an hour long. We always have a very specific warmup and then we have some sort of strength piece that could be one lift. It could be two lifts. It could be kind of more of like a circuit from different movements. And then we'll go into the conditioning piece and that could be minor structural. It could have multiple elements to it. It could be, you know, straight through. It could be more integral based style, much like Crossfit,. It varies constantly. And then we'll have a cool down and a quick mobility cool down after that. So I guess you can interpret that as Crossfit,, you know? I don't know. I could tell you that we don't have muscle ups in our program. We don't have hands doing push ups. We don't have barbell cleans or barbell snatches. But we have. Plenty of dumbbell cleans, dumbbell snatches, credible cleans, cannibal snatches. We have rowers, we have bikes, we run, we use jump ropes. There's plenty Barbella, the strength elements.

Jason Ackerman:
So there yet again, there's there's no right or wrong. I always find it funny when people there are people out there that bash Crossfit,. I'm like, you're doing Crossfit,. And it's like, you know, however you want whatever you want to call it, like it's functional movements mixed together with some sort of, you know, the clock is where we get the intensity component to it. But people are out there like Crossfit, the worst thing when in reality they're doing it as well. But I mean, I totally get where you're coming from with that. Now, did you have members that when you disaffiliated or started, you remove some of these more complex movements were upset?

Nicole Race:
Yes. Yeah. And there is there's a handful of them. And thankfully for us, you know, as far as our culture and the type of person that was really attract to our program, we didn't have any competitors, you know. So for us making that switch, it wasn't that dramatic, because if you are going to compete and Crossfit,, you have to be proficient at these very unique movements to Crossfit,. You got to have muscle ups and, you know, kipping and and things like that going to be able to circle or cycle barbells. But we never really had that in our culture. That was never really our thing. We were very general population fitness health oriented. So but there were a couple of people that like really enjoyed those movements. They were capable of doing them. And so for them, you know, it was just a matter of having that hard conversation, of being like, hey, you know, I get that this is what you love. This is what you want to do. We no longer offer that. It's just no longer a part of our program. We are changing your evolving. So, you know, they went their own way and we left on great terms, very positive terms with everybody.

Nicole Race:
You know, they were very grateful for the amount of time that they spent with us. And I was grateful to serve them as long as we could. But, you know, we just we've changed. And that's OK. They totally understand. I recognize that. I would say they all left on very positive terms. So it wasn't like this bad breakup. You know? I felt like we handled it as professionally as we could. You're very transparent about the whole change. We didn't try to hide dropping our affiliate or anything. We were very transparent. We tried to communicate really clearly about everything. So, yeah, I mean, any we make a change. You know, people are uneasy about that. It's difficult. It's hard. But if you're professional, if you communicate really clearly and if you uphold, you know, good standards and if you do what you say and say what you do, I think people respect that. But you just have to understand that, like, you know, if you're going to drop your affiliate and change your programming, like, yeah, you're going to have people that will leave. One hundred percent.

Jason Ackerman:
Well, I mean, I think what strikes me. Well why you say that is one. It probably took some balls to know you're going to lose members. Yeah. You know, you were doing it because it was your belief. Secondly, I think a lot of people, you know, when they listen in this episode, they're going to be like, there's the haters of Crossfit, there gonna be . Why do we affiliate? Coach Glassman gets rid of social media. The games become this. This is a very different stance of I'm not going to stay an affiliate because I don't like some of those decisions versus because we're deciding to go a different direction.

Nicole Race:
Well, yeah. Well, and, you know, it's kind of I think it's wrong for those gyms to who truly want to deliver the Crossfit, product and service, but just don't want to pay them like that's ridiculous. You know,.

Jason Ackerman:
It's thousand dollars.

Nicole Race:
Like Come on. That covers itself. Even if you provide a shitty service, you'll still have enough people come here to pay for it. But for us, we just you know, we genuinely felt like we were no longer in alignment with the brand with what was kind of expected of the typical Crossfit, experience. And so we felt like, well, OK, if, you know, if our marketing we should be attracting, you know, our ideal clientele. Our ideal clientele isn't someone who wants to do barbell snatches for conditioning. You know, like we don't want people who are wanting to do big muscle stuff like that. And at that time, we felt like we were just continuing to get people who were looking specifically for those things. So it's like, well, this isn't doing either of us any favors. You know, we were like turning people away. We're having to explain, you know, well. Why we're kind of a different version of the typical Crossfit,. So, you know, we just felt like we were going in a different direction and that was OK. I have nothing against Crossfit,. I love Crossfit,. I think Crossfit, is wonderful. But for us and our kind of business and brand goals, we wanted to be more than. Crossfit, Gym, we wanted to offer different types of services. I didn't want to be painted with that brush anymore. I didn't want to be limited to just that name, the offering. And I felt like it opened the doors for us, just removing that name from our business. It it truly allowed us to do whatever we wanted. There was no expectation of like you. But it's Crossfit,. So people are to expect X to be in your programming or expect this type of experience. And so I just didn't want that that boundary anymore. So.

Jason Ackerman:
So talk to me about owning a gym period. What are three of your biggest successes? Owning. Owning a gym.

Nicole Race:
Biggest successes? I mean, one like for me, you know, my my thing is I really love working with women and I love being able to change kind of the perspective of exercise, being like a punishment or a way to make up for eating poorly, to become something very positive. And to get women to think about what they're capable of doing with their bodies. So for me, getting so many women introduced, the strength training has been awesome. I love that. Also, you know, creating a place where it's kind of people's third place has been really cool, you know, so they have like their work, their home and then X. And so for a lot of people, we have become their third place, you know, a place where they come, where they are looking forward to being there when they're gone. They miss it. You know, they have friends and relationships. It's more than just the workout.

Jason Ackerman:
Probably the third place, but their favorite place.

Nicole Race:
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So.

Jason Ackerman:
Well, let me let me ask you this then. Those are two great ones. What's it like owning a gym with your husband? It's it's awesome.

Nicole Race:
To be honest, we work really, really well with each other. I mean, thankfully, we have a great marriage. We communicate really well. We're very complementary in the business sense to where he is very operational. So he is very analytical. He's got like, you know, a mortgage underwriting background. He's the numbers guy. He is operations very kind of like behind the scenes where I am more the personality, I'm the marketing and the sales and more face on various social and outgoing. So luckily, we have that dynamic and that has worked very well for business.

Jason Ackerman:
But give me give the listeners a piece of advice if they're listening and they're thinking about opening a gym with their significant other. What's one piece of advice for me, for example? Yeah, I've not owned a gym, was with my with my wife. But we've run our business together. And I think you have a super general piece of advice. You have to communicate. Yes. Now, that's kind of a copout. I think. Of course, you should communicate. But I like what you said. Finally, you're good at. Sometimes we're trying to cram like these square pegs in these holes where say, wait, you're really good and you actually enjoy this. You do that. I'll do this. Do you have anything you would throw in there?

Nicole Race:
Yeah, I would say, you know, with that in every role in your business, but especially between the two of you within your marriage, define your roles and stay in your lane. Respect those boundaries. Don't try to make your way into the other person's role or take over or micromanage what it is that they're supposed to be doing. I think you should really figure out what are your strengths, what are your weaknesses, what you should be delegating and then figure out, you know, day to day. What are my roles? Responsibilities were the results of those and communicate on those constantly. But don't let your head into their role or their position or their responsibilities.

Jason Ackerman:
That's tough stuff. I agree that that's something that took us a long time to understand. What about have you had one? Failure that you can look back on and in retrospect, it's been good for business.

Nicole Race:
Oh, man, a lot of them, like business, is about failing your way to success. I really, really believe that. You know, I would say that and this is I think goes for anyone in life, but especially for business owners and entrepreneurs, that the fear will never go away. You know, I still have fear all the time. But I don't stop me from moving. I don't let it stop me from moving forward. And so, you know, we had fear around starting our gym. We had a fear around becoming Crossfit,, actually. We had a lot of fear around dropping across that affiliate and changing our name, making all those changes. But in the back of our mind, in our gut, we knew it was the right thing to do, even though there could be all these other things that could get in the way. And, you know, a lot of criticism from other people all over the place. You have to do what's within your gut. And I would say that we made decisions later than when we should have. When we initially knew we should have made those changes or had those hard conversations, we waited too long. They became bigger problems. And they should have or they became problems when the problem shouldn't even existed. If we would have just gone with our gut, you know, communicated more clearly faster. Because when we start our business, you know, you don't think about becoming a great team leader.

Nicole Race:
You know, I think like you're like, oh, I could run a business, I can service my clients. But, you know, you can only do that for so long before you have to start hiring people and growing a team. And so that was a skill that I'm still learning at, but that I really struggle with is how do I become a good leader to my team? How do I be good? Come good mentor to my employees, you know, because I could mentor my clients all day long. I was really good at that. But I was like, oh, man, now I have to, like, grow my employees for them to become the mentors to all of our clients. And so like learning how to communicate really well, set boundaries, give them all the tools and the opportunities and develop them as people and empower them. It's really tricky. It's it's hard because as a business owner, especially when you're starting out, you do everything right. And so you have all these processes, whether you know their processes or not, in your head, in your mind. You just do. And so somehow you have to put that down on paper and have someone else learn those things and train them how to do them well and give them a roadmap and a blueprint for success. And I think a lot of us just expect certain things to be done because we just assume it's common sense or common knowledge.

Nicole Race:
Well, you know, duh of course, but if you don't clearly communicate that to people they don't know, you know, or maybe they just have a different perspective of things or a different way of doing things. So, man, communication is key, like, you know, with your spouse, with your your teammates, with your clients. But I would say the hardest thing, hardest lesson we learned is not hiring sooner. And then once we did hire, we didn't always have the right processes in place. We didn't always set our our employees up for success. We didn't always communicate with them as well as we should have. We didn't train them as well as we should have. So those are some big mistakes where unfortunately we make those where the relationship is tarnish, you know, or the employee is just not working out. You have to get rid of them. You know, like there's a certain point you're like, oh, man, it's just not going to work. And it's totally my fault. I either hired the wrong person or I didn't train them correctly, you know, and so just wanted to take ownership of that. It took a couple a couple of tries. I'd say that's the hardest skill for me to learn is like hiring employees, training them, being a good boss. Raising the status for myself.

Jason Ackerman:
Well, I think you mean a couple of things. You've said it. That is really solid advice, as I would almost put it, as you cannot communicate too much because you could talk too much. There's a different statement, but communication as a business owner is key. And I love that you said, you know, even if the relationship failed, either way, you basically took ownership. You hired the wrong person or you did a bad job. And you know that it's no different than any other relationship. Right. Anymore. You sure you dated someone before your husband? Just like I did and those relationships ended. You have to take responsibility for that. Yeah. There may have been things going on, too, but maybe you chose the wrong partner. Or maybe they are hard enough on it yet. How tall are you?

Nicole Race:
Five, 10.

Jason Ackerman:
I was going say you strike me, you look tall. Said you're sitting in this moment like again as I'm watching them. Like for some reason I'm getting the impression she's really tall. When you think about successful in our industry, who comes to mind?

Nicole Race:
You know, Jason Koliba, I really admire him. John Swanson really admire him, too. I mean, there are a lot of there are a lot of people, but those two really stand out to me because they have created such a business and a legacy beyond just their their gym and the workouts. I think that that's really a testament to how they've grown as people, the skills they developed, how they've been able to grow their team. I think that just, you know, I mean, it's not simple and it's certainly not easy to run a good gym. But the fact that they they've been able to do that and then expand outside of those services and offerings and outside of just being a solid gym, I think that's really, really cool. That's something that I really aspire to do and is currently working towards. But those two really stand out my mind for sure.

Jason Ackerman:
Alight if Nicoles hanging out at home, flipping through the channels. What movie do you pass that you can't resist and you have to watch?

Nicole Race:
Movie? Oh God. I would say like. In a comedy for sure. Like Friday?

Jason Ackerman:
Friday. OK. Look at that no rom – com here. Get out of my way. You're going for a Friday. I like it Friday. Actually is a good one. All right. I told you earlier. I like to preface this question. What book would you recommend for everyone to, check out?

Nicole Race:
The big leap for sure.

Jason Ackerman:
I've heard of that. Who wrote that?

Nicole Race:
I don't know. I don't know. But it's a great book because it's all about addressing your negative self image. And I think a lot of us have like imposter syndrome, you know, like she is entrepreneurs. We always think like we're not good enough or not ready. We're not smart enough. And so it's really about addressing all those underlying things and how placing those limitations on yourself is literally the thing that's holding you back from everything in your life. You know, the fear that you have. You know what? What you think you're worthy of achieving or doing in your life, like the limitations that you mentally placed on yourself, whether you, you know, acquire those through childhood or other relationships or different environments. Learning how to pick those apart will really open up the world for you. So I think it's a really powerful book for anybody in any stage in their lives.

Jason Ackerman:
What limitations did you place on yourself on those?

Nicole Race:
And I'm still working on them, of course. But being as successful as I want to be as a business owner, you know, I always wish that we would run a good gym and be, you know, I'd be a good trainer. And I always knew that. But for me, you know, more of the leadership type of thing growing to have a really big team and a big business beyond just a gym, you know, knowing that I'm capable of leading people in a bigger way. That's that's always been my thing is, you know, I'm I'm a great employee. I'm a great teammate. I just always haven't given myself enough credit to be a really big and powerful leader. And so I'm working through a lot of that stuff. But I know it's what I want to do. I second guess myself still, but I've gotten a lot better at it. So the big leap has really helped me for sure.

Jason Ackerman:
Well, based on this brief conversation, it seems to me like you're overcoming that. And I think, you know, to be redundant. The things that you're doing well, they're just I think always if you're leading from the heart, trusting your gut and doing things. I forget who said it in the Crossfit, world as I do the right things for the right people. And you'll be successful. So it's really cool to see. Unfortunately, we didn't get into a heated debate over whether or not you should be an affiliate because I respected it or.

Nicole Race:
I'll come back for that. Let's do it.

Jason Ackerman:
It's hard when you you know, you respect someone's opinion. And what I love about this show. You know, you know Dr. Sean. Yes. And I put up his episode not too long ago. Yes. Very polarizing. And he's very opinion. But I love talking to him because he's someone that can have his opinion and be very strong. But you can have a conversation. And that's that's all I like doing. Whether. I don't think you should have the same opinion as everyone out there, but you should be able to talk about.

Nicole Race:
Oh, yeah. I mean, Sean and I disagree on a ton. And we also agree on a lot. And I love that we can still have a great relationship and respect each other.

Jason Ackerman:
It's good because he's doing it for the right reasons, too. I mean, whether or not we agree, I know deep down in his heart, I mean, I had my last part I on three Crossfit, affiliates in the last one was a I wouldn't call my friend. He was a partner. And on day one, I said to him, if you always do things because you truly believe it's the right thing. I'll never be mad. Hmm. And so it's hard to you know, it's hard to be mad at that. Cool. And anything that we brushed over about you, about the box and do you want to share before we hop off?

Nicole Race:
No, no. I just you know, to those of you who are considering opening a gym. Who who are gym owners? You know, don't be afraid of change. And don't be afraid of doing something new. You know, just like we we teach our clients. Right. Like we are asking them to step outside their comfort zone to be, you know, bad at something before they're good. You know, business is about repetition. It's about mistakes. What you have to keep pushing forward and you have to keep an open mind, like be very growth oriented. You know, look for people who are, you know, even outside of just the Crossfit, in gym space who are very successful and, you know, learn like what what do they do? You know, what type of characteristics and mannerisms do they have? Why are they so successful? You know, go beyond the scope of just Crossfit, or even just gym owners and learn about other successful people in other areas, because I think all those basic principles apply, you know, to business in general. I think that very successful people all have very similar characteristics, whether they're successful in real estate or gym ownership or whatever. So continuing to learn from other people, don't ever think that you're learning is done or that you know everything like. I mean, there's just so much to learn from so many different people. Keep connecting with everybody. Keep an open mind. Try new things if it doesn't work. Abandon it and go to the next. You just got to keep four momentum.

Jason Ackerman:
I love it. And that's one of the common themes from every one we've had on this show is always be learning and you'll happen. You are never done learning. Just like you can never master the cleaner or the snatch. You can never. You shouldn't you should never stop learning. And the moment you you think you're done, you're done.

Nicole Race:
Yeah, for sure. Exactly.

Jason Ackerman:
I love it. Really solid advice. And that's why I love I learn every time I talk to someone new. So it's really great to talk with you and not this time. But next time I'm in Largo, we can definitely link up.

Nicole Race:
Yeah, for sure. Thank you so much for having me on. I'm really appreciative and it was great to officially meet you. I guess.

Jason Ackerman:
You too. Well, best of luck with them with the gym. And we'll talk to you soon. Yeah.

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